Relic Hunting Abandoned Home Sites

Metal Detecting for Relics

When it comes to metal detecting for relics, you need to know where to look and also have the right metal detector.

There is no shortage of locations that are ripe for the picking of long forgotten remnants of the past (a.k.a ‘relics’). Just bring along your metal detector and let the excitement begin! Among the hot spots to locate relics are deserted or abandoned buildings. Anywhere people once lived will yield treasure that can be located by a metal detector. Many times you will find rooms in abandoned homes that were left just as they were when they were lived in decades ago.

Detecting for relics is different than searching for gold or coins. Old houses and buildings can present hobbyists with a tremendous amount of junk iron and nails. For these sites, using a small amount of discrimination will prove highly beneficial. You don’t want to use too much discrimination so as to reject valuable targets. Daniel Bernzweig of advises “If you’re using a detector that has a visual target display, rely heavily on it to identify your targets. Correlate the audio and visual signals before making a decision to dig a target.” Recommended reading for relic hunters is What are the Best Metal Detectors for Finding Relics?


Related: See the Metal Detecting Code of Ethics

Metal Detectors Introduce a New Way to Find Antique Toys

New Ways to Find Antique Toys announces a new way to find antique toys with different metal detectors.

Avid collectors of antique toys are discovering a new way to build their toy collection—with a metal detector! Metal detector hobbyists have found thousands of valuable cast-iron, lead, tin and steel toys all around the world. Children’s favorite playthings from centuries ago can easily be detected with an entry-level or mid-level metal detector. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never used a detector before—there are guides in our Learning Library that can teach you the basics. We suggest you start with our article entitled “What are the Best Beginners Metal Detectors?”

Abandoned homesteads, schools, churches and town-sites are great places to start. Antique toys are considered relics (traces from the past), so a detector suitable for locating relics is the best choice for antique toy hunters. Michael Bernzweig of said “When I speak to toy collectors, I suggest that they read two important articles before selecting a metal detector: Antique Toy Hunting with a Metal Detector and What are the Best Detectors for Finding Relics?”

How Metal Detecting Can Teach Us About History

History is all around us.  Books, architecture, music, and more abound reminding us of the times when they were first created.  But, we miss a great deal as well because so many historical items remain buried underground.  One of the ways these as yet unfound antiques and historical pieces can be enjoyed again is through metal detecting.

Using a metal detector, kids, adults, and seniors alike can all feel the thrill of unearthing a bit of history that would otherwise have been forever lost.  Not only that, these special artifacts help give us a glimpse into days gone by.  The types of objects used at that time, the materials required to make them, how that differs from today, and more is all right there, literally, in your hands.  No history book can compare to that type of experience!

Metal Detectors and Relics

The best metal detector for finding these still buried antiques and relics of “yesteryear” is a low frequency metal detector.  This means the machine is able to detect metals with a lower conductivity like brass, iron, and steel; the same types of metals widely used throughout history.

You’ll also want a relic hunting metal detector with a manual ground balance control.  Having a precise, manual ground balance control will allow you to easily fine tune the machine to whatever type of ground conditions exist so you’ll be able to detect even the smallest button or antique coin without the interference of the chatter created by soils with heavy mineralization.

A pinpointer is also important when looking for antique relics.  These types of targets range in size so much, and are often so valuable it’s wise to have a pinpointer along with you when metal detecting.  You can find metal detectors with built in pinpointers, or, you can purchase a separate pinpointer to have along with you.  Either way, a pinpointer will help you focus right in on your target reducing digging time, and, more importantly, keeping your treasures safe from a misplaced shovel or digging tool.

In addition, be sure to consider who will be metal detecting with you.  It’s an excellent hobby for the whole family, but, to make it easy for everyone to use the machine, you’ll want to consider a lighter weight model, as well as one with an adjustable handle.  Depending on your location a waterproof metal detector may also be important to allow you to search in places like creek beds and beaches.

Care and Preservation of Relics

Once you’ve found an antique historical artifact, be sure to clean it up very gently with warm water and maybe a soft toothbrush.  With proper care and preservation, relics found with a metal detector can be enjoyed by future generations. Or, for your best bet, take your treasure to a professional so this unique piece of previously lost history can look it’s very best for it’s second act.  Then, do your research and you’re sure to learn a great deal about the past through this precious treasure you’ve just found today.

Best Places to Treasure Hunt with Your Metal Detector

Treasure Hunting Tips

When treasure hunting, two of the most important things are knowing where to search and having the right metal detector to help you.

When you’re eager to find lost coins, jewelry, relics and treasure—the first question in your mind is “where should I hunt?” Obvious spots are probably right under your nose and it’s prudent to get suggestions from veteran treasure hunters. After all, they’ve been experimenting with metal detectors for years and know where to find success. If you’re a fan of the National Geographic TV show Diggers, you’ve heard KG and Ringy talk about finding ‘nectar.’ This refers to the millions of dollars in coins and artifacts that sit just below our feet. So, with metal detector in hand—you’re probably ready to find some valuable nectar yourself. Here are suggestions from the experts for potentially successful metal detecting spots:

Public Parks & Recreation areas – search around drinking fountains, benches, picnic tables, walkways, entertainment platforms & pavilions. When metal detecting on private property you need to get permission from the land owner. With that said, amusement parks, fairgrounds, carnival & circus sites can be great spots to search. Any areas where lots of people have gathered over the years such as sports stadiums are great sites. You can check around the buildings, in the parking lot and even beneath stadium seats!

When metal detecting, it is important to learn about the local and national laws before setting out on your hunt. National treasure hunting organizations and local treasure hunting clubs can provide information on the current laws, rules and regulations. Other top sites to explore include:

  • – Beach swimming areas and public pools – especially concession and play areas
  • – Swimming pools and swimming holes
  • – Fishing piers, boat ramps and landings
  • – Horse and hiking trails, campgrounds and children’s camps
  • – Schools and colleges – around playground equipment, water fountains and doors or where people wait in line
  • – Tourist and rest stops lookouts and scenic spots
  • – Wishing wells and fountains- search below ponds or water where people pitch coins
  • – Service stations – don’t forget older and abandoned gas stations
  • – Old drive-in theater locations – search around ticket windows and concession areas
  • – Motels and hotels- current and former locations
  • – Old buildings and abandoned homes – doorways, next to porches and steps, near mailboxes and along all walkways and paths
  • – Your own yard – you will be surprised what you can recover from your own backyard!

These are just a few ideas for treasure hunting locations. You can also visit your local library and do a little research on local history. Perhaps you’ll stumble across information about rumored treasure caches or the sites of old buildings. This may provide you with a list of spots that could yield quantities of old and valuable treasure. If you’re new to the hobby of metal detecting, check out the articles at that cover beginner basics, such as Digging Into Research at Your Local Library- Uncovering the Best Sites for Locating Treasures.